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RTY YEARS 




A Review of the Work of 

Benedict College, Columbia, S.C. 

By A. C OSBORN, D. D. 

N any great enterprise the question 
may be justly asked: What are 
the results? Have the methods 
adopted been practical? Has the 
administration been wise? What 
has been actually accomplished? 

The imperative demand for educational 
mission work for the emancipated slaves 
as they came suddenly out of bondage, 
with limitations and disabilities in every 
direction, appealed powerfully to the 
Christian world, Missionary Societies re- 
sponded. Men and women, moved by 
Christian sympathy, took up the work. 
From that beginning the work has gone 
on enlarging and with enlarged expendi- 
tures, up to this present time. 

Properties have been bought, acade- 
mies, colleges, and universities have been 
established and maintained. 

The Societies spent large money and 
sent many men upon the fields. The 
fields were ripe for the harvest. What 
has the harvest been? 

Instead of dealing in generalties, 
which, by their largeness often bewilder 
and confuse, because not fully grasped, 
let us take one concrete illustration: the 
Benedict College, at Columbia, South 
Carolina. Other schools of this Society, 
as those at Richmond, at Raleigh, and at 
Atlanta, may show larger results. Here 
is a school that has been less in the 
public eye. 



Has it accomplished a work that has 
demonstrated the wisdom of its found- 
ing, and justified the expenditure for^its 
support? ^ ' ^ V^^IS) \ 

A SPECIFIC CASE. \>> ^^^ 

The school was opened as a mission in 
1871. The first students were few in 
number. More than half were men and 
women past middle age. Some were 
preachers who came to learn to read. 
Humble indeed were the beginnings. 

But the school, as Benedict Institute, 
grew. It had so grown that in 1894, . 
twenty-three years after its founding, it 
was incorporated as Benedict College, 
with full college powers. It is co-educa- 
tional. It is not for the teaching of^ 
trades. Like the colleges for the white 
youth, its work is the intellectual, the 
moral, and the religious culture of its 
students. 

In OctX)ber, 1895, the speaker became 
identified with it. In the sixteen years 
that followed, 3133 students were ad- 
mitted to that college. Of these 444 
completed required courses of study and 
went out as graduates, 308 of them with 
college degrees. 

The ultimate end of all the work of a 
Missionary Society is the extension of 
the Redeemer's kingdom. The Society's 
school mission work has been so pros- 
ecuted as to look not to those gathered 
for their personal culture only as the 
end sought, but to the extension of the 
Lord's kingdom through them.* They 
were educated, qualified, ^nd sent out to 
organize churches, to be pastors of 
churches, to build church edifices, and to 
secure full pastoral support with no fi- 
nancial help except as they developed it 
on their respective fields. 

WHERE THE STUDENTS GO. 

To be specific, graduates of this one 

.^mm r- 



mission school are pastors of Baptist 
Churches in South Carolina in the fol- 
lowing cities and larger towns: In 
Charleston, Columbia, Beaufort, Flor- 
ence,' Anderson, Sumter, Orangeburg, 
Darlington, Union, Spartanburg, Green- 
ville, Georgetown, Barnwell, Camden, 
Winnsboro, Laurens, Greenwood, Clin- 
ton, Belton, Hartsville, Society Hill, 
V'erdery, Blairs, Hopkins, Blackstock, 
Greeleyville, Dovesville, Seneca, and 
Bamberg.' In some of these cities there 
are two, three, or four churches, whose 
pastors are graduates of the college. 

In other States, graduates of the col- 
lege, are pastors in New York City, 
Chester, Pa., Jenkintown, Pa., Kansas 
City, Mo., Knoxville, Tenn., Houston, 
Texas, Elberton, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., 
Montgomery, Ala., and Wilmington, 
N. C. 
FORMER GRADUATES. 

These, all, are graduates. There is, 
however, a much larger number of form- 
er students that did not graduate, who 
are pastors of churches. There is not in 
South Carolina a city, or a county, and 
not many large Negro communities, in 
which there is not a Baptist pastor form- 
erly a student in Benedict College. Many 
of these pastors organized the churches 
where they are preaching, built the 
houses in wh'ch they are worshipping, 
and none have looked to other sources to 
supplement their salaries. Furthermore, 
of the graduates of Benedict, two are 
Presidents — ohe, of a college, and one of 
a university. Fifteen are professors or 
teachers in colleges. Eight are princi- 
pals of city high schools. Two hundred 
and nineteen are teachers in public 
schools. These are graduates. A still 
larger number who did not graduate are 
teaching in the public schools. 

Nine of the graduates are practising 



physicians. Among the graduates are 
lawyers, dentists, pharmacists, and mer- 
chants beside farmers, mechanics, and 
others. A large number passed civil ser- 
vice examinations, and are in the service 
of the United States. 

These, pastors, professional men, 
teachers, and others were all either slaves 
or the sons or daughters of slaves. They 
are now living exhibits of what the col- 
lege has been doing. 

Does any one ask for further evi- 
dence of the work of these schools of this 
and other denominations? Go South. 
Get a little out of the beaten lines of 
travel. Look for things the ordinary 
tourist does not see. Go to the sections 
in the cities where the better class of 
negroes live; go into the black belts in 
the country, where ordinary tourists do 
not go. Then look around. 

NEGRO SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES. 

In every city and hamlet, and by every 
highway along which you may travel, 
you may see negro churches, and negro 
schools; churches in the cities and in the 
country with over a "thousand communi- 
cants, well organized, well administered, 
presided over by pastors of high culture, 
worshipping in houses, spacious, some- 
times elegant, which they themselves 
have built — or churches also in city and 
in the country with but a little handful 
of believers, gathered in th^ plainest and 
rudest kind of a shelter, taught once a 
month, by some devout man who is 
building them up in the faith, and per- 
haps leading them sometimes into a wild 
ecstasy of religious rapture. 

In the cities you will find high-schools 
with colored principals, and corps of 
colored assistants, under city supervision, 
pursuing the same courses of study as is 
required in the white schools. Or, out in 
the pine woods, or in the sand hills, 



groups of youngsters, in miserable shacks 
called school houses, taught, it may be, 
but two or three months in the year, but 
by thoroughly competent young women. 

Back of it all — for churches and 
schools — for preachers, and teachers, and 
professional men — was the mission 
school fitting the workers, and making 
possible the achievements. 

However, this is Christian work. So 
far as known every one of the teachers 
and professional men that went out from 
Benedict College is an avowed Christian. 
In their college life they had had a les- 
son in the Bible every school day 
through all the years of their residence, 
as a study in which they were required 
to pass examination, as in other studies. 
Wherever they went, therefore, they 
went with no small knowledge of the 
Word of God, to be workers in churches, 
and Sunday Schools, and centers of per- 
sonal Christian influence in their com- 
munities. 

A BROADER VIEW. 

But there is yet a broader view. There 
is no serious negro problem in South 
Carolina. The upheavings and over- 
turnings from collisions between the 
races predicted by alarmists are ground- 
less forebodings, arising out of ignor- 
ance of conditions. 

By the census of 1900 the negroes in 
the Southern States owned 173,352 farms, 
valued at $300,000,000. Beside the farms 
they owned 373,414 homes. In Louisi- 
anna the negroes owned 50 per cent, of 
the farms, and in Mississippi 55 per cent.; 
that is, more farms than the whites, 
though smaller in size. The farms in 
the Southern States which they owned, 
and those which they occupied as tenants, 
covered 38,233,933 acres; an area of 
59,741 square miles; an area much great- 
er than the State of New York. In 



Virginia there are lOO counties; in 8i of 
those counties there are more negro 
than white farmers. These figures are 
from the census of 1900. The census of 
1910, when available, will show a great 
increase. The peaceful acquisition and 
occupation of these millions of acres, by 
a race that fifty years ago owned not one 
acre, would have been impossible in a 
disturbed social condition. The negroes 
at the South are living in peaceful har- 
monious relations with their white neigh- 
bors. They are under some restrictions 
and disabilities, but the progress made, 
notwithstanding those disabilities, is 
only the more remarkable. Personal 
wrongs, abuses and outrages, do occur; 
but, they are there, as elsewhere, the 
rare exceptions. 

BETTERING CONDITIONS. 

Never in the history of civilization has 
a people, from so low an estate, in so 
few years, so bettered their condition, 
and made such substantial progress in 
intellectual developments, in the acquisi- 
tion of property, in founding and main- 
taining churches ana schools, in moral 
culture, and in a higher type of religious 
life and experience. 

It was these mission schools that qual- 
ified and inspired men to lead. From 
these schools there went out young men 
and young women into every nook and 
corner of the land with new ideas for 
their people, that, in their then condition, 
were absolutely revolutionary. After 
living, for example, for the years of 
school life in a well-built and well 
ordered house, it was impossible for the 
student to go back home and be con- 
tent in the one room of the negro quart- 
ers, with a wooden shutter for a window, 
and often only the bare earth for a 
floor. After sleeping for months in a 
well made bed with clean sheets, it was 



impossible to go home and be content to 
roll one's self in a blanket, in one's work- 
ing clothes, and sleep thus on a bed or 
on the floor, in the one room cabin where 
all the family lived and slept. 

Thus, as an incidental result of these 
schools, the ideas and usages of a 
cleaner, more decent, more refined life, 
the primary elements of civilization, were 
unconsciously introduced into the fam- 
ilies of the freed men throughout the 
land. Thus a mighty impulse in the 
home life was given for the marvelous 
uplife that the passing years have 
brought about. 

WHAT RESULTS? 

What have the Mission Schools, those 
of other denominations, and Hampton 
and Tuskegee included, accomplished? 
Everything, in the intellectual, moral, 
economic, and social progress of the 
blacks since emancipation, are the results 
of the Mission Schools, more than of all 
other causes combined. 

Some one may ask, if the conditions 
are so improved, has not the time come 
to abandon this work, and leave the 
negroes now to their own resources? 
By no means. Shall the farmer abandon 
his field because the corn he planted 
has made a good start? That is the rea- 
son why he should carefully cultivate and 
make more sure the prospective harvest. 
The seed in these mission fields has been 
sown; it has come up; it has grown; it 
is bearing some fruit. But the abundant 
harvest has not yet been gathered in. 
There are millions yet unreached in the 
ignorance of their primitive condition, 
not even under the restraint of their 
former master. The work should be en- 
larged, and strengthened. There is need 
of more teachers and better equipment. 
But above everything else the schools 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



019 593 927 5 



should be endowed. 

leges and universitie 

endowments, which 

the extent of milli 

these schools, for the colored people, 

that have no wealthy constituencies to 

look to. 

WHAT ELSE? 

Possibly there may be some brother, or 
some sister, who has $100,000 that might be 
laid upon the Lord's altar for the further 
endowment of the college whose work 
has been more specifically presented. 
Such a sum added to its present endow- 
ment would permanently relieve the 
Home Mission Society from drafts 
upon its mission funds for that college. 

God has most wonderously blessed this 
v/ork for the negroes. Let a like, or 
even an approximate progress go on for 
a few more decades of years, and who 
can forecast the outcome? We have faith 
to believe that Christian fidelity and 
Heaven's blessings will so work together 
that the negroes in the South will be- 
come one of the most industrious, most 
prosperous, most laW-abiding, most God- 
fearing, and most conservative elements 
in our national life. The needful char- 
acteristics are inherent in the race. They 
need only to be developed, that possibili- 
ties may be changed into actualities. 



Published by 

THE AMERICAN 
HOME MISSION 



BAPTIST 
SOCIETY 



23 East 26th Street 



New York City